- This article refers to the edible fruit. For the British construction company, see Persimmon plc.
American Persimmon flower
A Persimmon is any of a number of Jappanese Furniture species of trees of Japanse Furniture the genus Diospyros, and the edible fruit borne by them. The word persimmon is derived from putchamin, pasiminan, or Japannese Furniture pessamin, from an Algonquian language Japanee Furniture of the eastern United States, meaning "a dry fruit". Persimmons are generally light yellow-orange to dark red-orange in Apanese Furniture colour, and depending on Japaese Furniture the species, vary in size from 1.5-9 cm (.5-4 in) diameter, and may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped. The Japamese Furniture calyx often remains attached to Japanesee Furniture the fruit after harvesting, but become easier to remove as they ripen. They are Japnaese Furniture high in glucose, with a balanced protein profile, and possess various medicinal Jpanese Furniture and chemical uses.
- 1 Species
- 2 Fruit
- 2.1 Culinary uses
- 2.2 Ethnomedical Uses
- 3 Wood
- 4 References
- 5 External links
A persimmon orchard in Japan
The most widely cultivated species is Kaki Persimmon or Kaki (柿 kaki?) (Diospyros kaki), grown for its delicious fruit. Kaki fruit is very sweet to the taste with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture. This species, native to China, is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation of the fruit extended first to other parts of east Asia, and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 1800s, and numerous cultivars have been selected. It is edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften slightly after harvest. The Japanese cultivar 'Hachiya' is a widely grown cultivar. The fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures. Persimmons like 'Hachiya' must be completely ripened before consumed. When ripe, this fruit is comprised of thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell. "Sharon Fruit" is the trade name for D. kaki fruit that has been artificially ripened with chemicals.
The American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to eastern North America. It is colloquially known as a "pawdad".
The Black persimmon or Black sapote (Diospyros digyna) is native to Mexico. Its fruit has green skin and white flesh, which turns black when ripe.
The Mabolo or Velvet-apple (Diospyros discolor) is native to the Philippines. It is bright red when ripe.
The Date-plum (Diospyros lotus) is native to southwest Asia and southeast Europe. It was known to the ancient Greeks as "the fruit of the Gods", i.e. Dios pyros (lit. "the wheat of Zeus"), hence the scientific name of the genus. Its English name is derived from the small fruit, which has a taste reminiscent of both plums and dates. This species is mentioned in the Odyssey; it was so delicious that those who ate it forgot about returning home and wanted to stay and eat lotus with the lotus-eaters.
There are many other species of persimmon that are inedible to humans, and thus have little or no commercial value for their fruit.
Japanese Persimmon (cultivar 'Hachiya') - watercolor 1887
Commercially, there are generally two types of persimmon fruit; astringent and non-astringent. Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins and are unpalatable if eaten before ripening. The astringency of tannins is removed by ripening by exposure to light over several days, or artificially with chemicals. This bletting process is sometimes jumpstarted by exposing the fruit to cold or frost which hastens cellular wall breakdown. These astringent persimmons can also be prepared for commercial purposes by drying.
Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm to very very soft.
- Fuyu (Fuyugaki)
Nutritional value per 100 g
|Energy 70 kcal 290 kJ
|- Sugars 12.53 g
|- Dietary fiber 3.6 g
|- Dietary fibre 3.6 g
|- saturated .02 g
|Folate (Vit. B9) 8 μg
|Vitamin C 7.5 mg
|Calcium 8 mg
|Iron .15 mg
|Sodium 1 mg
Diospyros kaki, raw
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
, Japanese Dried Persimmon
Persimmons are eaten fresh or dried, raw or cooked. In China, Korea and Japan, after harvesting, 'Hachiya' persimmons are prepared using traditional hand-drying techniques, outdoors for two to three weeks. The fruit is then further dried by exposure to heat over several days before being shipped to market. In Japan the dried fruit is called Hoshigaki, and is eaten as a snack or dessert. The dried persimmon is also used to make the traditional Korean spicy punch, sujeonggwa, while the matured, fermented fruit is used to make a vinegar that is thought to have a wide variety of holistic properties. In some of the areas in China and Korea, the dried leaves of the fruit are used for making tea. The Korean name for this tea is ghamnip cha (감잎차).
The persimmon also figures prominently in American culinary tradition. Persimmon pudding is a dessert using fresh persimmons. An annual persimmon festival, featuring a persimmon pudding contest, is held every September in Mitchell, Indiana. Persimmon pudding is a baked pudding that has the consistency of pumpkin pie but resembles a brownie and is almost always topped with whipped cream. Persimmons may be stored at room temperature (20°C) where they will continue to ripen.
- In traditional Chinese medicine the fruit regulates ch'i
- The raw fruit is used to treat constipation, hemorrhoids, and to stop bleeding
- The cooked fruit is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery
An example of persimmon wood furniture
Though persimmon trees belong to the same genus as ebony trees, persimmon tree wood has a limited use in the manufacture of objects requiring hard wood. Persimmon wood is used for paneling in traditional Korean and Japanese furniture.
In North America, the lightly coloured, fine-grained wood of D. virginiana is used to manufacture billiard cues and shuttles (used in the textile industry). Persimmon wood was also heavily used in making the highest-quality heads of the golf clubs known as "woods", until the golf industry moved primarily to metal woods in the last years of the 20th century. Persimmon woods are still made, but in far lower numbers than in past decades.
Like some other plants of the genus Diospyros, older persimmon heartwood is black or dark brown in color, in stark contrast to the sapwood and younger heartwood, which is pale in color.
- ^ University of Hawaii, Extension Entomology & UH-CTAHR Integrated Pest Management Program, General Crop Information: Persimmon http://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/crop/crops/i_persim.htm
- ^ California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., Persimmon Fruit Facts http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/persimmon.html
- ^ Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp., on the production, health benefits, and traditional uses of Sweet Dew Persimmon Vinegar http://www.agrotrade.net/html/agrafood/9904/healthy.htm
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
- University of Florida: Oriental Persimmons in Florida, USA
- 2006 Mitchell Persimmon Festival, Mitchell, Indiana USA
Categories: Articles with unsourced statements | Ebenaceae | Fruit